Always Be Better Not Bitter

After two solid years, when the world was affected by the disease called Covid 19, the first week of September 2023 was not just a mere week to women from Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID) but rather an important week. More than two thousand Women from six unions of the Seventh-day Adventist namely Malawi, Northern, Southern Zambian Union, Zimbabwe East, Central and West Union Conferences attended a regional congress which was organized by these three counties from 6-10 September 2023 at Rusangu University in Zambia. Two hundred and ninety (290) were from Malawi Union conference. The theme for the regional congress was: Better not Bitter 

The Women’s Ministry Director of Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, sister Margery Herinirina, on higher note, led the congress through morning devotion. She shared with the delegates the word of God from Ruth 1:20, 2:11. The Director said that it was good for the women to be better not bitter as bitterness is like poison in someone’s heart that consumes good thoughts. She further encouraged the women to stop being bitter rather have hope whenever they face challenges. She added that women should have trust in God and will be transformed. She continued by encouraging women to be kind to each other so that some people can be transformed and start trusting in God through their kindness. Naomi turned and trusted in God because of Ruth’s and Boaz’s kindness.

The congress was graced and privileged by the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID) president Dr Harrington Simui Akombwa, who officially opened the congress. The president said that it was high time for women to arise and shine in the name of the Lord. “We are in the world full of challenges, but let us rise, shine and pray to God and meet Jesus. For that the challenges will disappear”, said Dr Akombwa.

Series of good topics were presented and good selection of facilitators during the week were lined up. Pastor Trymore Mutimwii, who is the stewardship Director for Zimbabwe East Union Conference, talked on Women and Evangelism. He encouraged the women to evangelize and spread the gospel for evangelism as the reason for their existence. He continued by saying that women are also gifted just like men. He encouraged women to evangelize by sharing their belief with everyone through actions and preaching like what Dorcas did. The pastor urged the women to preach everywhere and share fresh witnesses from their lives. “Evangelism is a powerful and effective method to share the word of God, I encourage you to exercise what you know, do what you say, and say what you do?” quizzed Pastor Trymore Mutimwii.

Women and relationships were topic by Dr Gift Mweemba, a retired minister of Seventh-day Adventist church, who also once served as a Director of stewardship, evangelism and publishing at Southern African Union Conference. He encouraged the participants to be better not bitter always. He said, women should have high self-esteem because they are individuals on their own. “You should trust in yourself that you can do better as a man. Learn to enjoy yourself and work for the Lord and the church will grow because there are more women than men in the world. Be proud of yourself as the first person to be trusted in was a woman, even Jesus trusted in His mother on earth”, said Dr. Gift Mweemba. He continued by saying that there are three people in an intimate relationship who are man, woman and relationship.  The relationship might break but this should not break a woman because she was only in a relationship. He said that women should work on their own and make things happen.

Dr Precious Milingo an active member of Olive Seventh-day Adventist church in Kampala Uganda and a founder of Utano Health Solutions, took the women through women’s health. She advised the women to follow the example of how an expensive car is being serviced and managed by the owner. She said that women are also expensive as A BILLION DOLLAR ASSET, they have to take care of themselves like how the owner of the expensive car does. “You are supposed to take care of yourselves by taking healthy meals everyday, which contains 50% of vegetables, 25% of brown carbohydrates and 25%of proteins. You should avoid artificial sweeteners and refined foods, use brown salt, do exercise, avoid stress by being connected to people who can freely talk to and rest/sleep for seven hours”, said Dr Precious Milingo.

Mrs. Mercy Kumbatira who is the current executive Director responsible for corporate operations in the Reserve Bank of Malawi, presented women and finances. In her presentation, she said that everyone wants and loves money to survive in life. She encouraged women to have savings so that they should be able to build houses and pay school fees for their children and do other things. She also encouraged women to at least have small businesses to achieve their short term, mid- term and long term goals.

On women and violence, Maimba Ziela (Senior Counsel), a managing partner at Lusitu Chamber and a personal ministry director in Northern Zambian Union Conference, shared with the participants that abuse is any conduct or act that is likely to cause harm to safety, health and wellbeing of a person. She said that abuse is experienced in three major ways physical, emotional and economical. She advised women not to hide or to be silent when abused, they should seek for assistance. “Abuse can happen to anyone and anyone can be a perpetrator in the house or community” lamented Mrs Ziela.

On busy women and issues of balance, women were encouraged by Dr Linda Sibanda, women ministry Director of Northern Zambian Union Conference to manage their time well and have time to rest despite their busy schedules. They were also encouraged to value everyone around them and work with them as a team to avoid breaking themselves. I encourage you my fellow sisters, to plan in advance and prioritize your tasks, communicate your boundaries by sharing your working hours so that you should not be disturbed and invest in your relationships. Learn to say NO!”, said Dr Linda Sibanda.

Mrs Nokanyo Lulu Ndholvu from South Africa was the main speaker during daily power hour and evening service. She encouraged women by saying that they are the light on the earth and they should pray for their marriages and children, God will bless them. She also said that women should not keep grudges to avoid bitterness. Let us choose hope, gratitude over bitterness whenever we have challenges, let’s thank God in everything and write down good things the Lord done to us. “When we live in prayer, we will have gratitude and our children will imitate it”, said Lulu Ndholvu.

During the Congress, women went out for out-reach activities. They visited Monzee Hospital, Monzee Prison and Choongo school for children living with disability. The headmaster of Choongo Primary school said that he was glad to see women from three countries visiting the Choongo. “As a school we are humbled, these children you see them today are from this surrounding area and Kemba mission which is under Livingstone branch. Most of these learners are on wheelchair and are escorted by their parents when the school is open since its a boarding, but they really need help. Remember each and every time you throw food in your bins, unnecessary movements, etc please think of these children they are facing a lot of challenges”. said the Headmaster. The Women  distributed assorted non- food items like slippers, soap, books and cash. The congress lasted for four days and was closed by union parades with cultural presentations.

Article:  Maggie Chikhambi-CMC Communicator – Salima SDA church

Photography: Otieno Mkandawire

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